I was fortunate to attend the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce Luncheon in melbourne today. Treasurer Peter Costello was the guest speaker. I was struck by his humor, the depth of answers to questions from the floor and, well, his humanity.- a trait that does not come across that often on the TV news.

In a Q&A session, some complimentary comments were made about the new industrial relations policy, Workchoices, or whatever it is called now. I am not a fan and have blogged here before about it. The person commenting was full of praise. While I agree there was a case for a fairer penalty rate system – particularly for weekend work.

Workchoices, in my view, goes too far. In its original incarnation it was an invitation to cut what you pay people. The pressure on small business was considerable if they wanted to compete against bigger companies with a lower per hour labour cost. The IR changes have widened the gulf between employers and employees in many industries and such division is unhealthy.

But back to the Treasurer – sitting and listening to him I wondered how many other politicians perform better live than through the TV.

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